NANANGO’S Owen Stewart has reached the “holy grail” of karate.

After six years of training with the Mugen Gissen Karate Do in Nanango, Stewart earned his black belt on Saturday.

Mugen Gissen Karate Do student Owen Stewart sparring with sensei Robert Early of the Kingaroy Shotokan Club in Nanango on Saturday. (Photo: Contributed)

Mugen Gissen Karate Do student Owen Stewart sparring with sensei Robert Early of the Kingaroy Shotokan Club in Nanango on Saturday. (Photo: Contributed)

Mugen Gissen instructor Sensei Kathryn Stockwin said it was an awesome feat.

“When you first start doing karate, you work through the lower ranks and the black belt is like the holy grail,” she said.

BLACK BELT: Mugen Gissen Karate Do student Owen Stewart at his grading day in Nanango on Saturday.

BLACK BELT: Mugen Gissen Karate Do student Owen Stewart at his grading day in Nanango on Saturday.

Stewart was one of the club’s first students, and after training with them for six years, has claimed the club’s first black belt.

Stewart, in his late 50s, went through 33 sessions of two-minute rounds of sparring throughout the day.

The bowing in prior to Mugen Gissen Karate Do student Owen Stewart starting his 10-person line-up — 10 lots of two-minute rounds, one after the other on Saturday.

The bowing in prior to Mugen Gissen Karate Do student Owen Stewart starting his 10-person line-up — 10 lots of two-minute rounds, one after the other on Saturday.

“All of the other instructors were impressed by his fitness,” Stockwin said.

He displayed just short of 70 different combinations and 10 different patterns.

“It’s a really big achievement and at the end of the day, it’s the work they put in,” she said.

Mugen Gissen Karate Do student Owen Stewart showing off his skills at the grading day in Nanango.

Mugen Gissen Karate Do student Owen Stewart showing off his skills at the grading day in Nanango.

Stockwin said Stewart had put in many hours of hard work during training and at home to reach this achievement.

“As an instructor it was just a great day, you put in all of this effort in teaching and helping people and then you get to see them reach their goal,” she said.

GRADING DAY: Instructors and students from all three clubs in Nanango on Saturday, November 23. (Photo: Contributed)

GRADING DAY: Instructors and students from all three clubs in Nanango on Saturday, November 23. (Photo: Contributed)

Stewart was one of five Nanango martial arts students, as young as eight years old, who earned their various gradings at the karate day held at the Nanango school hall.

The Nanango group were joined by students from the Kingaroy Shotokan Club and Darling Downs Goju Martial Arts Academy.

“It’s really nice to make an environment for clubs from different areas to come and train with us,” Stockwin said.

Mugen Gissen Karate Do student Owen Stewart in action during his grading.

Mugen Gissen Karate Do student Owen Stewart in action during his grading.

Students got the chance to take on new opponents.

“They had to think on their feet — it tests them and they really enjoy that challenge,” Stockwin said.

Darling Downs Sensei Peter Heard, Sensei Susan Speekenbick and Kingaroy Sensei Robert Early presenting Owen Stewart with his black belt and certificate.

Darling Downs Sensei Peter Heard, Sensei Susan Speekenbick and Kingaroy Sensei Robert Early presenting Owen Stewart with his black belt and certificate.

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